Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Calèche Eau de Toilette by Hermès

Total Reviews: 40
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
In the original formulation the opening is a citrus l-based mix in lemon, orange, mandarin and a good dose of neroli on top of it. In spite of an Initial assumption to the opposite, this is not a refreshing citrus mix, but a bit darker and settles.

Most prominently, however, is an aldehyde that is very sharp and crisp initially, and makes its mark not only during the top appearance of the top notes, but throughout Calèche’s whole longitudinal development.

The heart notes are a floral potpourri: I get a lot of muguet, a bright and elegant rose, and an ylang-ylang that manages an intense creaminess that is nonetheless neither thick nor cloying. Iris and jasmine underscore the importance of traditional floral underpinnings in the extensive drydown, and whiffs of oleander round it off. Clearly the florals are at the core of the matter in the longitudinal progress of this olfactory journey.

An incense note, enforced by coumarin and oakmoss - the latter neither harsh nor loud but fitting in well - mark a turn to darker regions, enhanced by a bit of amber and musks in the background, whilst a tonka impression adds more sweetness to what the floral basked already provides - but still steering clear from being too heavy. Towards the end woody notes appear - cedarwood mainly on me. Apart from a dimly glowing vetiver in the back room the base is not such a bright affair. For the second half there is an civilisedly sumptuous powderiness accompanying the mix.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

Whilst this deliciously rich and complex scent for evening outings in spring and autumn is of classic and confident elegance and grandeur. In all its richness it never ceases to be refined. The only drawback is that the sheer load of ingredients - all of excellent quality though - makes and appreciation of all the details nigh impossible. Overall 3.75/5

02nd December, 2019
Finally I found an open bottle at the duty free. Calèche is a nice powdery vintage floral with a soapy, itchy feel. I like the good performances it has, without being too empowering.
11th January, 2019
Calèche hails from a time when a word like grandeur could be used to describe a perfume and it wouldn't be written off as empty rhetoric.

Guy Robert's original formulation was a grand opulent chypre, the like of which has long since disappeared from mainstream perfumery.
Two reasons for that are : 1) this sort of quality is not cheap to make, and 2) a perfume of this stature needs to be worn by someone whose age is greater than their hip size.

Smart, beautiful and classy, Calèche had everything going for it - except that most precious quality these days - youth.

23rd December, 2018 (last edited: 30th May, 2019)
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The opening of this reminds me of Chanel No. 22. A slightly feminine-leaning fragrance, but something I feel like I could pull off, a woody, aldehydic floral. It develops in more of a foodie/gourmand direction than No. 22, which stays woodier. This one gets a bit of a cinnamon roll vibe, which isn't great, and makes it a less attractive alternative to No. 22.
18th July, 2018
An incredibly sharp aldehyde. This smells great and I can tell it is vintage, from the 60s. There is a floral note of ylang ylang, jasmine, and iris. It's mostly an aldehyde, but the floral is a nice balance.
15th September, 2017
Took a whiff of this Feminine and thought "This is a contemporary Equipage with Adelehydes and softer Leather."
I see from others reviews they have witnessed the same.
Lots of similarities. Beautiful and classic Hermes finesse. Must try the Vintage as apparently there was a reform in the 90's.

August 2018

Vintage has a Rosey Sandalwood drydown like it's younger cousin 70's Rive Gauche. Yes, 1970's Rive Gauche had a plonk of Sandalwood. I know because I wore it at that time.
15th May, 2016 (last edited: 08th August, 2018)
Caleche is crisp & sharp, it's primary accord seemingly composed of 2/3 aldehyde & 1/3 sour citrus. That's an oversimplification, but it really is very crisp and fairly linear. The aldehydes are ratcheted up to a high degree and the effect is strange and soapy.
17th November, 2014 (last edited: 26th May, 2017)
Roja Dove tells us that perfumer Guy Robert here created new types of both floral (less sweet) and chypre, less severe, opening with sparkling citrus notes.

Barbara Herman notes the "blend of classic floral notes and balsams that provide a hint of Oriental sweetness" and its "masculine base."

I found it to be for me a sharp and musty floral chypre, drying down to cinnamon. I compare it unfavorably to La Renta's Oscar.

Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Neroli, Mandarin
Heart notes: Gardenia, Ylang, Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Muguet
Base notes: Tonka, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Amber, Musk, Cypress, Olibanum, Coumarin

Nice but unremarkable.
22nd October, 2014
Genre: Chypre

Calèche starts out smelling like and aldehydic green floral chypre – a sort of softer and more floral Givenchy III or a muted 1000. It’s the “muted” that impresses me over the first part of the development, as Calèche rapidly settles into a slightly spicy floral leather skin scent with a mossy background. Besides a delicate transparency that’s rare among floral chypres, it’s most appealing feature is an almost-but-not-quite edible, nutty quality about its chypre core. The soapy moss and woods drydown that plays out after a few hours is in keeping with the rest of the scent’s refined development.

With its clean, prim demeanor, Calèche occupies a significant niche in the realm of chypre scents. It’s sophisticated, elegant, and somewhat formal. With its conspicuous aldehydes, it’s also a touch “perfumey,” in the same sense as, say, Chanel No. 5. It strikes me, paradoxically, as very gender-neutral as well, perhaps because it is so dry and understated. At any rate, it is a scent worth exploring if you enjoy chypres but find some of the other classics of the genre too opaque or heavy.
11th June, 2014
I am looking to find a signature scent - something I can use for years. So I read a bunch of reviews and went ahead and ordered 50 samples of everything I want to try and then some niche perfumes that came highly recommended. Caleche sounded right up my alley because anything orange/citrus peeks my attention.

I have to agree with LuciaW about this scent. I sprayed this on and my first impression was soap. It felt like a bucket of strong soapwater was poured over my face and I had to gasp for air for the first half hour. I wanted to wash it off but decided to pull through and see what the dry down smells like. On my skin there's no citrus at al, not the faintest hint! - the soap drowns it all. After almost 3 hours that was still all I could smell. One note: soap. Such a disappointment because after smelling it at the perfume counter on a piece of paper, I was convinced that this would smell great on me. Luckily I only got myself a 5ml vial of this. Now to tend to this soap-induced headache..
08th May, 2014
Aldehyde floral and vetiver-leather

Caleche is an example of classical perfumery. Beautifully executed aldehydic floral .

This has been no doubt reformulated since it first came out and I am reviewing the latest version Soie de Parfum which I bought this year 2013. Longevity has suffered somewhat but still a fine perfume.

( My bottle bought in 2009 Soie de Parfum - the scent was stronger / denser than this one and the dry down had more oakmoss . )

Gorgeous citrus and aldehydes open Caleche , rose - jasmine, iris in the middle , some ylang and the dry down is mostly vetiver these days with a touch of moss and a slight leathery vibe. Clean , classy and smells expensive.

It is quite close to Amouage Gold Woman but Gold is more peachy/plummy in the middle ,thicker and has a bit of frankincense.

Caleche in its present Soie de Parfum incarnation is also close to Chanel No 5. It is closer to Chanel No 5 than Amouage Gold Woman is supposed to be.

In fact, Caleche smells more like the Chanel No .5 of old than what No. 5 is today.

Wonderful stuff if you love and appreciate classic perfumes.

Pros: Classically beautiful
Cons: Longevity is not as good as previous versions "

21st August, 2013
This is for pure perfume vintage mini, smells so much more natural then current version

This opens up with beautiful green oak moss mixed with nice aldehyds, which go quiet very soon, leaving natural effect behind, and a touch sweet woody snadalwood-oak moss mix takes over wth zesty lemon, just a touch of powdery iris, nothing like soapy synthetic modern version, this may be the only oak moss that i truly enjoy .

Colour: yellow

For the day
17th February, 2013
finzi Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Did somebody say Chanel No. 5? If you've tried Chanel 5 but weren't too sure about it, try this. It's very similar but has a slight variation on the theme that might appeal to you.

I get a huge blast of the aldehydes and bergamot sitting on top of jasmine. The vetiver peeks its head above the parapet just enough for me to know that it's there.

In my (uneducated) opinion, very nicely blended and a great classic scent. Rich, opulent and sophisticated.
11th March, 2012
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LuciaW Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I was so excited to receive a sample of this! On paper it sounded just the sort of fragrance I adore. I wanted to love it but I just can't. It opens with a hit of sparkling aldehydes and on me soon softened to the smell of soap, nice soap but soap all the same. The drydown was very powdery indeed. I usually like powdery scents but this I just had to wash off. It smells rather like the talcum powder my Mother in Law uses!

I can appreciate it, but it just doesn't work with my chemistry.
24th January, 2012
As soon as the rounding olfactory Caleche's evolution is accomplished the aroma you inhale is a sort of extremely sophisticated (rose-ylang ylang-iris), soapy-velvety-leathery scent with a woodsy nature and a floral and nutty/leathery fluidy undertone. The perfume is rosey, soapy and leathery with that kind of neutral volatility produced by aldehydes and with an indolent, dreamy retro feel proper of the citrus-rose-aldehydes-musk chord. In the same vein as Madame Rochas and First V&A, this complex, masterfully balanced, evocative and restrained concoction  is a floral chypre with its jasmine-rose-iris sophistication, its musky base of sandalwood, cedarwood and oakmoss and the leather velvety vibe exuding that sort of soapy/silky neutral-rosey-suede classic spark. I consider this fragrance as a sort of Equipage's old sister because both the fragrances share the Hermes's type of classic-retro feel, the soapy-leathery-boise trail and a restrained moderation in the masterful combination of precious elements. The fragrance performs a moderate sillage and a great longevity on my skin.
02nd October, 2011 (last edited: 23rd February, 2015)
Starts off with a juicy citrus aldehydic burst, then softens to powdery floral with touches of rose, ylang ylang and iris. A musky, leathery, animalic note lingers in the background and grows more apparent as Caleche dries, keeping the florals from going too powdery or sharp. Warm mossy dry woods round out the scent, and I can't help thinking this is one of the truest chypres I've smelled thus far. Feminine and classy with a hint of masculinity to give pause. I can understand the references to Chanel No.5, but Caleche seems more like a second cousin rather than a direct relative.
27th August, 2011
I remember experiencing 'Caleche' for the first time in my early twenties and how very closely she resembled the relatively new Chanel 19, I was unaware then they had both been created by the great Guy Robert. Sadly many of his earlier creations including Madame Rochas have been altered almost beyond recognition with each reformulation, becoming not only insipidly weaker but also very nearly unrecognizable from the original formulas. Caleche's greenish/fresh aldehydic opening is similar to many of this floral/chypre genre with that unmistakable heart of rose, hyacinth and ylang thus setting it apart from others like 'Madame Rochas' by the inclusion of cassis bud & scads of Florentine iris. I also believe the quality of the woody bases are much more synthetic these days considering the rarity of Mysorean sandal, amaranth & Brazilian rosewood. To have worn this in the pure parfum concentration decades ago was absolute luxury, a contentment also found in the original 'First' by Van Cleef & Arpels and of course as mentioned previously the 'au courant' and innovative Chanel 19. My reference to 'First' is to emphasize the perfect connection between the accords of blackcurrant bud (cassis) and the floral absolutes. I'm not surprised to see this scion of 'haute-parfumerie' still in great demand today, another jewel almost lost to the ether of obscurity.
The soie de parfum seems to be in short supply lately, a possibility of discontinuation herhaps ?
Woe, Woe & thrice WOE ! ! !
12th June, 2011 (last edited: 11th July, 2011)
floral aldehyd chypre composition by Guy Robert who composed the great equipage for hermes as well.perfectly balanced and refined feminine fragrance.timeless and outstanding.(vintage caleche!)these were still times when people were able to compose!scents that were magic and unique !!!
16th February, 2011
Calèche, Calèche! What have they done to you?

The current version is a mildly aldehydic, inoffensive, soft, woody scent. A pale shade of what it used to be. It completely lacks character and smells like fabric softener.
A nice fabric softener, I must admit.

I might enjoy it if I had never tried the vintage version. Not only I have tried it but I have stocked up a bit on it.
The vintage version is seriously aldehydic, woody and powdery. The quintessence of chic and class.
It is a powerhouse in comparison to the diluted-skimmed-watered down current version.

Thumbs up for the vintage version.
Neutral for the new version (if I hadn't known her old self)
Thumbs down for butchering such a beautiful classic.
22nd January, 2011
MMMMMMMMMMMMM? i wonder if Hermes Caleche stole the ingrediants from Chanel no 5. because they smell the same
so there's not alot to describe.
it has the same Aldehydiac note and it's elegant and chic this perfume is perfect for wearing a cream shelf dress
going to a fashionable daytime garden
soiree. if chanel is a nighttime aldehyde Hermes Caleche is for day.
12th December, 2010
Calèche recalls associations with spring because of its combination of cool aldehydic chypre with green notes and warm woody bases. I don't get much of a chtpre here. The base is more woody than mossy. Interesting is a salty note in the bases (probably what people call urine) that comes from vetiver with musk and oakmoss in the absence of patchouli and vanille. The combination of aldehydes and iris makes this perfume pretty powdery that may be experienced as "old fashioned". The floral bouquet is classic combination of Jasmine, Rose and Lily-of-the-Valley, supported by iris. In this fragrance the first party is played by aldehydes and woody powdery base. The flowers are on the background. It becomes warm on the skin, but reveals not a sweet, but sulty warmth that may smell a bit strange. No leather on my skin. Smells good on a male skin, especially after aldehyde and powdery notes are settled down and the warm powdery woody base start to play.
24th March, 2010
This is a perfume for perfumistas and much older women only.
You know what I mean, right? If you cannot get past cat pee and pampers types-of associations, don't try it. Because just about more than any other "classic", this is a challenge to behold: strident top notes, too much civet, too much powder...
That said, *I* happen to think it's a glorious creation. And thankfully, it is one of the rare fragrances, which has a sillage that is wholly different beast from the smell on your skin...And the sillage is fabulous!

It is, perhaps, the smell of Grace Kelly's floor-length fur, hanging in a prestigious coat check while she enjoys a meal. There is something voyeuristic about this smell for me, as if I am the coat clerk at that restaurant, sneaking a smell of something fantastically grand, forbidden opulence, and I life I couldn't ( and shouldn't) understand.
Also, the fascination with eras gone by is a huge part of my love of Caleche. I feel like I understand history better, knowing this smell. That's why I love so many of the classics. They "take me there".

I don't really wear it out, as much enjoy it like a fine cognac, in my *private* sphere; As of yet, I just couldn't quite pull it off.

Please, only buy the Eau de Soie; the Edt is just water; I am serious.
27th February, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States
I have no idea why - no idea - but until recently I'd never even sampled Caleche. Even though I consider myself something of an Hermes fan, I'd simply never gotten around to it. To cut to the chase, I love it... but I'm also glad that it took me years to finally get around to sampling it because had I tried it when I first began collecting fragrance I may not have been so enthralled. I shall explain...

Vibert's excellent review hits all the major points. Caleche presents an aldehydic green chypre as such a scent should be: classy and proper. The opening floral/green/citrus accord is blended such that no one note is distinct and it is downright bitter. I assume most people sampling Caleche are out at this point. If you stick with her, Caleche's heart slowly evolves and a more distinct rose and lily notes began to poke their heads out from behind the bitter aldehydic opening, adding a touch of sweetness to balance the green notes.

For those of you not familiar with vintage chypres, Caleche is likely not going to be enjoyable. However, for those familiar with Caleche's contemporaries, the Miss Diors, the Givenchy IIIs, and the Chanel 19s of this world Caleche fits in quite well. The addition of aldehydes over the green chypre structure harkens to the great Patou Caline. Caline is softer and less bitter with sandalwood in the drydown, but they are both fresh, dry, and equally well constructed. Given that Caleche and Caline were initially introduced within months of each other in the early 60s, I wouldn't be surprised to learn there was some cross-inspiration one way or the other.

I'm not sure how reformulation has impacted Caleche, but I'd would assume based on some of the reviews that modern restrictions and synthetics have changed her somewhat. Luckily finding old examples of Caleche doesn't seem particularly difficult or expensive, at least not yet.
31st December, 2009
To me this represents the epitome of savoir faire.The balance of diverse components is masterfully restrained, allowing some nuanced accords to bask unfettered through the various phases of Caleche.It retains all the positive attributes of an old fashioned formulation,while still feeling fresh, youthful and vibrant.

The opening is bold,with a host of acidic components vying for the last word in astringency. None are allowed to overwhelm, and it is within this fresh and confident beginning, that the fragrance gathers its momentum. The heart notes are a initially an engaging accompaniment to the opening, then creating potent accords of their own. This floral axis contains wonderfully aromatic notes, using particularly odoriferous elements such as iris, gardenia,lily of the valley and rose. There is plenty of time to enjoy the top and heart notes as these phases are especially long-lived. The base is smooth, slightly sweetened and effortlessly classy. Again the balance is superb, allowing a particularly organic and earthy phase to bring Caleche to its climax. A fragrant nexus of wood and vanilla notes counter the remaining floral notes efficiently, allowing this long-lived phase to be enjoyed for several hours. This fragrance was an absolute pleasure to review, and will remain in my memory for some time.
11th September, 2009
Initially it was unappealing, but later develops into a soft sensual fragrance. I think it is a little old for me, but still quite lovely.
21st August, 2009
artp Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I have not smelled Caleche for many years and got a bit of a depressing shock. Can Hermes please stop fiddleing with them, they do not seem get better!!!!
Once more they have taken the guts out of beautiful scents leaving them thin, limp and with a weak base.
Belami has lost its peppery fullness and big warm soft after glow, Eqiupage is synthetic and lifeless compared with the original and Caleche is watery and transparent in the middle. Have the accountants taken over once more or in a rush to be "modern" turned to CK BE for new formulas and style??
Pissed off and disapointed!
10th July, 2009
kess Show all reviews
United States
I tried this recently -- I could not get past the "soap" stage (must be the aldehydes). When not overpowered by the soap "accord", I sense rather nice florals (violets?), but I can only get whiffs of those, and then back to the soap. Overall, it smells like a very luxe, very expensive soap, but not a perfume I'd wear. Definitely try before you buy.
14th February, 2009
Smells like Chanel No. 5 and urine.... which isn't always such a bad thing.

25th December, 2008
Some 10 years ago a lady in a pefumer's shop smelled Caleche and sighed: "My, it's so beautiful". She could not afford it, somehow perfumes were (and still are) more expensive in Poland than in Western Europe. I sniffed at it - and it smelled sort of difficult. After some years I took a risk and bought it for myself. The first contact was still difficult - it smelled so unlike today! "So what! - I thought. - I do not need to be like today". At first I planned to wear it only to chic classic dresses, but soon I was wearing it to everything, blue jeans and black emo T-shirts included! You won't believe it, but it went well with these, too! Maybe because it went well with my skin and psyche? One of the greatest masterpieces ever, an adventure for the soul!
20th December, 2008
I bought a bottle of EDT Caleche for my Mom when she was still alive, then took it over when she wasn't crazy about it. She was a Chantilly Lace fan. I loved it then and I love it now because it reminds me of her and because I just love the scent.
26th November, 2008